Twitter Expands Subscription Product to U.S. in Move Beyond Ads
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. is releasing a subscription product to users in the U.S., its largest and most valuable market, in a bid to expand its business beyond targeted advertising.
The company first launched Twitter Blue, a $2.99 monthly subscription offering that gives users access to exclusive features, in early June. It has been available in just two markets -- Canada and Australia -- and was rolled out in the U.S. and New Zealand on Tuesday.
Twitter Blue gives subscribers a handful of perks, including the ability to preview and change tweets before they’re sent, and customizable app icons and color themes. New options are being added this week, including one that will let subscribers read some news stories without ads.
Twitter partnered with news organizations, including USA Today, BuzzFeed and the Washington Post, and will pay those publishers a small fee in exchange for letting paying subscribers read a story without any advertising. In March, Twitter acquired Scroll, an ad-free news-reader company.
Executives at San Francisco-based Twitter have discussed building a subscription feature for years, but the company finally pushed forward on the project this year. Advertising businesses have been impacted over the past year by a number of issues outside companies’ control, including the global pandemic, boycotts and Apple Inc.’s privacy changes. Subscriptions, the thinking goes, could be a more predictable revenue stream to help complement the ads business.
It’s unclear how successful Twitter Blue has been so far. Executives declined to share specific subscriber numbers or demographics on a press call with journalists this week, saying instead that the product is intended for the service’s “power users.”
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